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Poster: Leonard Liotta Instructor English Date: Aug 14, 2009 7:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bobby fans are people too


I am very respectful of Weir's contributions to the plethora of original material brought to, and used, in 1st set, and 2nd sets; however, IMO the bashing is four-fold.
Having said that, you first need to listen carefully to Weir's guitar work in 1972, especially Europe. The harmonic structure of unusal choral and harmonic progressions (not to metion his voice leading) and use of "flat and augmented 5ths, 7ths, and 9th's, laid the groundwork for Jerry to be free enough to expand and vocalize his solos. Listen to "Truckin" on Europe '72 or "1969's triad of "Dark Star>>St Stephen>>The Eleven."

First, Heads are "put off" by his rock star personae. There is some truth in this, the band ideology was always diametrically opposed to such behavior.

Second, his way of , in the words of T.S. Eliot, disturbing "the universe" of multiple, improvizations; breaking and taking away from the moments of greatness starting to form around the band and engaging with the audience. For example, in the Dead's most perfect concert (it is said, 8/72 Ventura OR) Weir "disturbs" the universe created by the band in in the middle of "Dark Star" for a cowboy song, or, cuting off Jerry great solos in many "Jack Straws" and coming in with a verse, as Jerry keeps soloing--disconnecting and detaching the tune from "Being" itself and "fixing" its structure in a frame holding a beautiful portrait. This is not an anomolous behavior by Bob, but a consistant dislocaton of the trajectory of the improviation many knowledgable DH's note.

Thirdly, his "slide guitar" playing is no better than mine and I have never tried to do so. Slide guitar takes years and years to build the superior playing you here by Duane Allman,Steve Kimock, and even Jerry himself (note sublime slide in "Row Jimmy"). To play slide when on stage with Warren Haynes shows, at best, musical hubris. Even audience members with no tonal relation in their auditory comsciousness could "hear" the inappropriate and poor "Playin" Weir does in tunes like the 3rd slot, 1st set blues---"Minglewood, "Rooster" and "Walkin Blues." I understand why Jerry did not say anything to Weir (the Dead cose of letting expression take it's place in the creation and de-creation of music, but Bob takes de-creation TOO LITERALLY). To support my claim--always listen to the Jerry solo AFTER the Weir slide solo (de-creation)and how Jerry brings the tune to life (creation) to its conclusion.

Four, Weir in 1993 changed his guitar sound so much that he
no longer complements Jerry (later Warren and Jimmy Herring), causing an agonizingand irritating "noise," a friction in the middle of harmonic compliementariness.
The sound is most notably audible when the Dead were tuning up. The ugly noise we experience is Weir's (in his own words on Letterman)"rude" sounding guitar. You are able to heaqr it clearly in the 1994, 1995 shows when Jerry did/could not solo.

I am "greatful" for Weir and his ability, his early guitar work and later to write Dead statements (strong songs) played on the last tour (spring 2009)used as centerpieces for many of the shows. He, like the rest of us, are on a journey of discovery, Weirs has, is, will be (hopefully)continuing.

Len Liotta
Professor English
1st show 5/2/77 Palladium NYC
last show 4/95 Tampa, FLA.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 14, 2009 7:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bobby fans are people too

Nice post! I enjoyed reading your thoughtful analysis.
Judging by your quaint use of English, no way you can be an English professor, but I look forward to seeing more posts from you!

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Poster: barongsong Date: Aug 14, 2009 10:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bobby fans are people too

I very much agree with your assessment of Bobby although the numerous typos etc in your post leave me wondering of your professorial credentials.
But it's irrelevant so lets forget about that and get to the point that in my view Bobby was in the early to mid 70's a great rhythm guitarist and getting there before that. But that's almost pointless too because in my view on this time period is that through all the hard work, commitment and drive, just about everyone in the band is really in top form and and are able to make the ultimate GD sound. However somewhere in the mid 70's something happens and perfection starts to get to be a bit boring as is expected in a band that is going Further, and I for one am glad for this. By this I mean that before this transitional period the band seemed to have some kind of vision of what they wanted to sound like and after seeming to reach it, it was much more difficult to come to an agreement as to which direction to go next. Yet they did... sort of... and this is all projection on my part by the way, but anyway after reaching such heights as they did it's my belief that there were as many ideas as to where to go next as there were band members, and probably more knowing their reputation for openness. In other words the band after this point seems to be more convoluted and not as focused on the Grateful Dead as they were on there own projects. I must also say that I think this was the right thing to do at this time in order to keep the creative juices going although this is also in my opinion why things with the GD became less and less consistent. However I do think when they all did connect later on it was monumental and possibly even better than before.
Anyway to get to the original thought and get back to what Bobby has to do with all this. It's my opinion that Bobby was the one that got the furthest away from the GD musical theme and thus was often the guy that for better or worse rocked the boat more, and was often deserving but sometimes not for some of the less memorable moments, but for sure did stuff that was so unique that there is no doubt for me that without him their would not have been a Grateful Dead as we know and love it.

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Poster: hippie64 Date: Aug 14, 2009 11:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bobby fans are people too

WOW ! Your response was something akin to pulling up to a McDonalds drive thru ordering the value priced double cheese and being suprised and pleased to be served a thick filet w/ a side of jumbo shrimp. I suspected there were fine nuances involved w/ my question and to the trained ear Bobby left a lot to be desired. But... To the novice they were the only game in town. Thank you for your astute observations. I can only imagine your students learn plenty from a teacher w/ the life experience ( i.e. Deadhead )you share selflessly. Thanks agian I can still say w/o hesitation I still need a daily dose of Bob and that even includes the occasional "Bob Star" peace to all